I got an interesting peice of mail yesterday from a bill collecting agency hired by my apartment complex.  The amount due was more than $2,000, but it wasn’t until after I opened the letter — and after the moment of initial shock — that I realized that the bill was addressed to someone else!
Someone else who, apparently, once lived at my address.
I’ve had the displeasure of having businesses get a wrong address before: it takes months for them to get it straight if you don’t stay after them.  Stamping “No Such Addressee” on the envelope doesn’t help; I’ve tried.
So I called the number listed for this national debt collection agency.  The man on the other end answered with a simple, “Hello.”  No name of business, nothing.  Just hello.
I explained that I had received a letter at my address that was addressed to someone else, and that I wanted to let them know that there was no such person living at this address.
The guy said, “So you’re telling me that you opened someone else’s mail?”  Way to miss the point that the letter his little company sent was misdirected.  Let’s stick to the real problem here, shall we?
I resisted, though I’m not sure how I resisted, the temptation to begin my response with the words, “Look, jerk…” and said, “Yes, I sure did.  I was going through my mail and paying bills and frankly, I didn’t look at the name until I had already opened it.  But it did come to my address.  It’s not like I raided a neighbor’s mailbox out of boredom.”
“Do you see the account number?”
Oh, I thought, so now it’s suddenly okay that I opened “someone else’s” mail now that you actually need something!  Funny how that works, isn’t it?
I gave him the number and he looked it up.  He read back an address to me and asked if it was mine.  It wasn’t.
He explained — get this! — that the guy’s address had apparently changed, so they sent this to the old one.
“So then you already knew that this was the wrong address when you mailed it?”  Couldn’t let that one slide.
“Uh, yeah.  That’s just a security precaution.  You can discard the letter.”
From now on, I’ll be tempted never look at the name on a letter again.  Out of spite.  But I probably still will.